View Full Version : building my own computer.

12-24-2004, 11:31 PM
I am finally getting around to putting together a computer myself. I will be following a lot on this web site http://www.mysuperpc.com/
as well as getting a book or two. Could someone take a look at the site and tell me what they think. It seems pretty detailed. Any recommendations as to books? I am just going to bite the bullet and try it and hope I don't end up with a $700. or $800. mess. I think I can do it. Will see. Going to start getting the parts in a few days.

12-25-2004, 01:42 AM
The tutorial sounds like a good start. You can find many of these tutorials in the web, most of them are written by the same person. You can find a tutorial with more photos at http://www.daileyint.com/build/. I donít know a good book but if you visit a bookstore or look at amazon you probably will find something.
To build your own computer can be very educational; some might even consider it as fun. As you probably found out by yourself in most cases itís not a way to safe money.

If I were you I also would take care the machine is not to noisy. The power supply, the fan of the CPU on sometimes the graphic card might be the mains sources of noise. In most cases less noisy parts cost only a few dollars more. If you donít want to play the latest games you wonít need an expansive graphic card.

If you are not using your old monitor you have to decide between CRT and TFT. I donít know about prices in the US, but in ďold europeĒ good CRTs became very but if you donít have much space a TFT might be the better choice. If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer I would go for a good one, itís good if you can test them in a shop.

12-25-2004, 10:05 AM
To build your own computer can be very educational; some might even consider it as fun.<font color="blue">This is true. </font color> As you probably found out by yourself in most cases itís not a way to safe money. <hr /></blockquote>
<font color="blue">Building your own computer will save you ALOT of money. You can end up with a 700-900$ computer that retails for close to 2000$

Popcorn- Don't spare the expense to buy quality components, you will have a smoother, quieter machine. I would highly recommend using serial ATA (SATA) cables for your drives and mother board. Much faster. Put as many fans as you can (buy a case that can mount at least four) in there to keep things cool. It's really not all that difficult, and you can build a great machine for about half of retail. Do your research thoroughly on components, and find the ones with the best warranties that fit your needs. Good luck.

~DC </font color>

12-25-2004, 12:02 PM
In my research I did some price comparisons and on the very low end it would be hard to build one for less then you can buy. For example Best Buy has a very low end E machine for $299. after rebates. The operating system and monitor alone would be around $190. if you bought them. But once you move up the price is not so close. They make a lot of profit it seems on up grades. Either way I think it would be fun and I would have a little more sense of self-sufficiently. I don't like the feeling of being at someone's mercy regarding things I don't know anything about. I am a pretty good car mechanic although I usually pay to have my car worked on. The thing is, I can't get screwed because I know a little about cars.. My mechanic is a good friend anyway and I like to give him my business I even go there for oil changes. That's how I got started with the cues. I just wanted to learn a little and ended up with a great shop any cuemaker could make a nice living with. As it is I just build a few cues and they are mostly for friends. With all humility though I would say I can build a cue as good as anyone and could probably make a small living at it. I just like knowing I can do it and like making stuff for myself. I keep saying I will begin making some cues for selling but it just never seems to happen, too many projects. We are getting ready to begin building a new house right after the first of the year and one of the priorities is a small out building for my shop. I want it with a nice skylight and about 600 sq, ft. That's the size of my current shop and it is perfect for me. The house will be almost half the size of our current house more like a cottage with a great room for the pool table. Then all I will have to do is live long enough to enjoy it. You just seem to wait too long to do things, but no more. My wife and I are in a past mid-life change and not wasting another minute.

12-25-2004, 12:56 PM
Don't let those E-machines and "good deals" fool you. They are junk, don't last long, and have many operating "issues". My roommate has an e-machine, and constantly has problems with it. I have a custom built (by a friend of mine, but I will be building my next one) computer. With the monitor (bought separately), I have spent around 800$. I have:
-Intel motherboard, pentium 3
-1 GB Ram
-3 hard drives (western digital{very good}) totaling 220 GB
-Radeon 9800 pro graphics card
-Audigy sound blaster audio card
-Creative 5.1 surround speakers
-USB 2.2 PCI card
-Lite On dual layer DVD/CD burner (All formats)
-Pioneer dvd rom
-Probably some other specs I can't think of right now.

I use my PC mainly as a media center.....movies, music, pool videos, etc....I have it setup as a small home theater, all for what I consider to be a phenominal price.
I plan on getting a 19" LCD flat panel monitor next, the prices are really coming down.
You sound like a do-it-yourselfer, as I am, and I think you would get a great sense of satisfaction, as well as a badass machine if you were to build it yourself. Enjoy /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif


Mr Ingrate
12-25-2004, 02:18 PM
I've built a number of computers. I don't anymore cause I end up being my own service department and I've got too many cuts and gouges from working in tight quarters. I found I wasn't saving a lot of money. My only suggestion is that you buy from someone who has a repair department and who you can grab ahold of and shake if something goes wrong. I no longer buy desktops, just laptops with 15" or larger screens. I always carry a real mouse and, when at home, a remote mouse and keyboard. By the way, treat yourself to a flash drive or two. I was down visiting the grandkids in Orange County and Fry's Electronics had 1 Gbyte Lexar flash drives for 49.99. The regular price was 99.99 minus in-store discount of $30 and a mail-in rebate of $20. I love my flash drives. Just plug it into a usb port and you're good to go. Real handy for transfering data since some computers don't have floppies or writeable CD-Roms - but they all have USB ports.

12-25-2004, 04:18 PM
I'm with you Dave, I stick to laptops these days. I have built hundreds of PC's, in the mid to late 90's I was doing over a hundred a year. I finally gave it up as too much hassle. When I was doing my consulting work, I modified a 19" telco rack to fit in my boat, and I switched over to rack mount hardware. My last "workstation" was a proliant server with some mods to make it a good desktop platform. If I was to build another one for myself, I would use a mini-board industrial PC (PLC type), or a 1U rackmount chassis as a starting point, and remote mount all the peripherals (CD drives, USB ports, etc). I hate the cheap ass components in consumer hardware, and I absolutely hate the jumble of cables and power strips that go along with a typical desktop system. A wireless KB and mouse are mandatory, imo.

Popcorn, I can't give you much advice, except avoid OEM packs on RAM and Processors, video cards, and mainboards. Buy retail packs that are sealed from the manufacturer. Buy from a supplier that will allow you to exchange an item if there is a cross compatibility issue between components.

Once you have all your components, go online and download all of the latest drivers from the various manufacturers and burn them to a CD before you start. Take your time with assembly, and don't horse the components into place. Be especially careful with the CPU cooler, and don't put pressure on the center of the CPU. Get the very best fans and power supply you can, because it will still be junk anyway. I always kept spares around.

If you have any legacy hardware like photo printers, cameras, etc., that you want to keep, make sure you can get drivers for them if you are planning to upgrade the OS.

The best thing about building your own system is that it won't have 212 trial versions of Norton, Quicken, AOL, MSN, etc, etc. (Always pre-installed and sucking up half the CPU cycles on startup). The worst thing is transferring all the data and reinstalling all the apps, this can take a few days if you have a lot of stuff. The easist way to deal with your data is to network the 2 computers and transfer the data over the wire. If you don't have a hub, you can get a CAT5 crossover cable for about 7 bucks.

Have fun.

Cueless Joey
12-25-2004, 11:09 PM
Pop, if you want to build one for the experience and the fun of it, go ahead build one.
You won't be saving much though. My local store (WWW.siliconave.com) sells a loaded PC for $750.
Intel board, WD hard drive, name brand RAM and very good case and power supply.
There's really not much markup on computers these days. The store just hopes to do a lot of volume sales to get the volume discount. They make more money on accessories, repairs and consultation/sales to businesses.
Building a pc these days is not that tough anymore. The system board has a built-in soundcard, video card and network card. Set the jumpers, run the cd. It's set. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Load XP to the hard drive, you're done. Not too many jumpers to set or mess up anymore.

12-26-2004, 11:06 AM
I think my motive is more I want to learn a little about them. How to troubleshoot them and not feel so helpless when something minor goes wrong. Just getting in and getting your hands dirty is half the job. Most people are afraid to even open the cover because it seems so scary and confusing. I think one of the biggest things the stores make their money from is the service contracts. You bring it in and if a part has gone bad it is covered by the manufacture anyway so it is nothing out of their pocket and they have some kid there doing the work paid by the hour. That contract is like free money to them. When I was at the store the other day all the guy wanted to talk about was warranties. Of course since you know nothing about the machine, if do you bring it in and there is nothing really wrong with it maybe just a software problem they charge you a service fee in many cases.

12-26-2004, 12:53 PM
That contract is like free money to them. When I was at the store the other day all the guy wanted to talk about was warranties. <hr /></blockquote>

In the very early days of PC's no one had a clue about how quickly they would advance or just how fast those early models would become obsolete. Or for that matter - how rapid obsolescence would eventually become a fact of life for all PC owners.

When IBM decided that they wanted to compete with Apple they set about designing a computer that basically followed their traditional monopolistic practices. Their early PC Junior offered the least amount of power for the most amount of money. By contrast, Asian 'clone' manufacturers started right off by offering the most power for the least amount of money.

The result was that early IBM PC's wound up costing business owners ten thousand dollars apiece (or more) while Asian clones cost about a fifth of that. Large numbers of business owners opted for the IBM machines because of their fear that the equipment might break down or need service. The expensive service contracts offered by IBM and other proprietary manufactures were an attractive option in those days.

Three or four years into the battle for market share as the nature of rapid PC obsolescence became more apparent to business owners there was a shift towards the far cheaper Asian imports and away from the expensive name brand machines like IBM and Compac.

In todayís world, service departments still make very good money from the fear and ignorance that prevails amongst many PC users. The truth is that if you want to learn to fix it yourself you probably can - that there's very little harm that can be done by making the effort to learn and a great deal of satisfaction to be gained in the process.

Best of luck in your endeavor.

Snake &lt;---has been building his own computers since the days of the XT.

12-26-2004, 07:35 PM
Good for you! I too did not know anything about building pc's till a couple of years ago, and since then have built many for family and friends.
I agree with one of the posts above, BUY QUALITY PARTS! You get what you pay for. Also, if you are looking at the higher end system, you will also save money (not so much on the lower end ones).
I personally use mwave.com or newegg.com to buy my parts. I have never had any issues with either, and have bought many things from both.
There are so many different things to choose from it can be very mind numbing. I personally use AMD based systems since their processors are so much cheaper than Entel, and I have never had any problems with this system.
Another item most people do not consider is the case. I would by the type that have the bays that slide in and out. This makes putting things together SO much easier! Chieftec, Antec are a couple that have this type of arrangment.
Another item of note is don't buy cheap RAM! No generic stuff. This is one of the most important parts of your pc. Don't skimp here!
The main thing is don't be intimidated! It is really like putting a lego set together. It is not brain surgery by anymeans, and anyone with common sense can do it.
I usually reasearch things well before I buy them (like motherboars, graphics cards, etc). Do a little research at places that do reiviews on parts. Just plug in (for example purposes) "ASUS A7N8X Deluxe reviews" and you will get several hits on reviews on this motherboard. I usually skip to the end of the review for the bottom line on the plusses and minuses (the reviews can be really long, and I'm not that anal to I just flip to the end for the bottom line).
Good luck and have FUN! It is not only educational, but I also found that building pc's is something I really enjoy! I hope you find it the same, and if there are any questions you would like to ask, feel free to message me at any time.
Good luck.

Cueless Joey
12-26-2004, 09:11 PM
Service contracts are a scam. If one part of your computer goes down, they'll just blame it on a virus or something and tell you it's not covered.
From my experience, name brand computer components are very reliable. A power supply, system board, RAM and hard drive going out is not neearly as common as software problems.
If you have XP, set a restore point. You can always revert to the restore point if you have software problems.
Viruses and spyware are the biggest problems of course. A great program is protect your computer from viruses and spyware is FreezeX ( www.DeepFreezeUSA.com (http://www.DeepFreezeUSA.com)). With Freeze X, your computer cannot be invaded unless you "unfreeze" it.
Learning how to Ghost a hard drive is a great knowledge as well. It's pretty simple actually. It saves me hundreds of hours of re-installation at work every year.